River of Lakes Heritage Corridor
Byway Length: 156 Miles
Designated: March 12, 2009, National Designation 2021
FDOT District: 5
The story of the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor National Scenic Byway embodies a unique blend of history, sophisticated contemporary culture, and gorgeous natural Florida.
The Native Americans of the area, the Timucua, referred to the St. Johns River as the “Welaka”, or “River of Lakes.” People as diverse as the Timucua, early Spanish and English settlers, plantation owners, Civil War supply runners, and 1800s steamboat tourists utilized the St. Johns River and surrounding communities for profit, diversion and survival. Famed botanist William Bartram wrote about the region in the late 18th Century as did James Audubon. Largely undeveloped though the region, the river offers a rare glimpse of how natural, wild Florida looked to the early adventurers.
Today’s explorers continue the story of the river, navigating its waters in tour boats and kayaks; fishing, bird watching or just experiencing it’s slow-moving waters and Spanish moss-covered trees that line much of its shoreline. Others ride the byway experiencing oak canopied corridors and back road adventures following in the footsteps of those that have come before them. Drivers, cyclists and motorcyclists travel the corridor enjoying its beauty, extensive network of trails and partaking in community events that celebrate the region’s heritage. These modern explorers experience connected communities, winding canopied roads and the off-the-beaten path experiences that are all part of the region’s personality.
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River of Lakes Heritage Corridor Map
River of Lakes Heritage
Byway Website: ROLHC.org
YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/user/rolheritagecorridor
Byway Facebook: facebook.com/WestVolusia
Tour Suggestions: riveroflakesheritagecorridor.org/tours
Byway Activities: riveroflakesheritagecorridor.org/things-to-do
Ask A Local (“insider” perspectives on the byway region):
These are specific resources for this byway. See Associated Florida Resources for connections to organizations affecting all byways in Florida.
Volusia County Tourism:
Seminole County Tourism:
Main Street DeLand Association:
Located in the center of Florida, entrance to the byway can be reached from several directions.
From Jacksonville: Take I-95 south. You can enter the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor from a few directions:
From Orlando: Take I-4 east toward Sanford. Take the 17-92 exit just before crossing the St. Johns River Bridge. At the light, you will be turning on the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. You can turn left to go to Sanford or you can turn right to head to Debary and DeLand.
From Tampa: Take I-4 East through Orlando and continue on to Sanford. Take the 17-92 Exit just before crossing the St. Johns River Bridge. At the light, you will be turning on the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. You can turn left to go to Sanford or you can turn right to head to Debary and DeLand.
From Ocala: From Ocala, take SR 40 east through the Ocala National Forest along the Florida Black Bear Scenic Byway until you intersect with US 17. At US 17, you are on the River of Lakes Heritage Corridor. You can either head north on US 17 to the Volusia County line. You could also take US 17 south along the corridor. In addition you can continue on SR 40 past US 17 to SR 11 which is another leg of the corridor.